I’m going to talk about how a nonprofit was able to manage volunteer talent efficiently.
I’m proudly one of the volunteer talents and that’s the reason why about seven years ago —even before Caspio started its Philippine office — I have already been using Caspio.
I have been working with a foundation that has a goal to operate many venues for different formation activities like spiritual retreats and professional development seminars, so we can make volunteers a catalyst for change while at the same time, helping them become a better person.
I’m a work-life balance advocate, I’m also a speaker for work-life balance, and I really would like the women that I form become activists. At the same time, they take care of their families. It’s a really huge formation task. So, this is just one of our impact factors.
The volunteers that we have are basically university professors, even working moms, single or married. So, they’re the ones who are taking care of the seminars.
Basically, my app is an activity reservation system, where people sign up for activities.
They immediately find out whether they have slots. And we have really minimized a lot of things. Before, they would call us just to tell us their diet, or sometimes they sign up and then they say, “I’m sorry, but my husband asked me to transfer, retreat.” So, before, we used to handle all of these things.
I really said, “you know, I understand all of your circumstances, but I don’t think we will be able to continue being involved into these details.”
So, I decided to come up with an activity reservation system where they can come in and out whenever they like. They can change their reservation. So, basically, with that for the past seven years, I have less complaints. I am now more into the content, into the delivery.
We’re talking about the challenges with pen and paper.
Usually, they would just call, “Can I just be enlisted to this activity for November?” and then afterwards they change their mind. And then sometimes they say their names, and then I pick it up wrongly. I’m sure you’re very familiar with all of this.
So, my challenge with regard to implementing technology with IT with a nonprofit is that really, they have financial constraints. They really lack understanding with the context of changes. But it has been somehow a success trip now for the past seven years because they have totally understood the benefits.
And the reason why I’m just saying that is here: a simple Google search that made me discover Caspio seven years ago.
And with this, it’s easy for the people who are attending — whether they come from the Philippines or from the U.S. — to book a flight because they already know they have a slot. They get to access the online reservation system from anywhere.
So, we have about seven types or eight types of users. I have 3,000 main users or the ones attending the activities, and the rest are simply the ones who are like center directors. They are the ones who really have to make sure that their members are attending the activities annually.
Sometimes the women who are reserving are telling me, “How come our husbands are still into the pen and paper system? How come they just call?”
And I have to make them see that now we are leveling up. We really have to get more information.
We can easily cancel an activity. For example, on February 14th, the mothers wouldn’t like to go to a seminar or out of town. They like to put up a party for their children so that the children will be at home with their dates on February 14, something like that. And also, it’s a different culture.
We could make decisions on the basis of that real-time data.
So, as I mentioned, we have measured the impact for seven years. There’s really not much quantitative data but I can sense that if there are 10 people complaining, saying “how come my husband is still into this pen and paper system,” I have like 1,500 women who can come in and out of reservations at any time.
So, we have focused less on administrative activities and we have focused more on the content and really preparing.
Because if I am an activity director, I have to give three talks in three days. Then, I’m focusing more on that rather than typing and writing down their diets and what rooms they want and if they like a bathroom, private bath…I’m totally already out of it.
So, now for the expansion.
The thing is, I’m also attending my annual retreat and seminar and we are still using pen and paper. So, the ladies, the married ladies, they have really moved up, they leveled up and said, “How come I’m still into this?” So, my next project’s ability to expand it to the staff.
And later on, the women are asking, “Can my husband also have this type?” And I say, “Okay. That will be about five years from now because it is like a volunteer thing.”
So, my next project is really into my full-time work in the university. It’s called a mentoring system.
My university is a nonprofit, private institution. We’ve been here for 15 years, an autonomous university, and we pride ourselves having a mentoring system. Well, Christina (Alcala) was mentioning that kindergarten is a bit too late. I have to tell you, we are trying to form college students and it’s really, really difficult.
With the system that I tried — an experiment that I tried using Caspio to monitor the mentoring frequency and connecting that with their mid-semester or mid-year performance — I was able to come up with a research paper. There’s really a correlation, a strong correlation between mentoring frequency and the performance.
So, this one I want the university to have in an official way. When I come back, I want to talk to my university about having this.
I am now a program director of the accountancy department. If you realize, in the Philippines, or you might see many Filipino accountants. That means there’s going to be a huge number of students. And I want to be ready with that using Caspio, with the mentoring system.
And really, I have experienced the benefits.
And right now, I’m pretty sure that with the number of students coming in, and the number of CPA volunteers that I’m going to ask to volunteer to mentor my students in their four years until they take the CPA Licensure Examination, and with the Caspio app, I think I will have real-time data. Today, I will know how many students have gone for their mentoring, and what are the problems of the mentors in accessing the system.
With the Caspio app, I think that I really provide the volunteer CPAs as a very good user experience. They can just log in at any time and they can see the messages of their mentees. Usually, before the exam, the students would like to see their mentors.
So, it really provides them a good user experience.
That is one thing — I really would want not to waste their time so we have to have a very good app for the volunteers.
This is an example of what I have created for them. It was called Management Mentoring System back in 2014. Now, I will make it into an accounting mentoring system. Just a few examples. And with this, I would really want the students themselves to use the system to really make sure that they can access their mentor.
And with that, what I can say about Caspio is that coming from a nonprofit or representing a nonprofit, and at the same time education sector, which are mission-driven organizations, I really think that Caspio can help achieve that mission faster than I can imagine.